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Park City

Applicants make their case for Park City’s open city council seat on first day of interviews

The second group of applicants will be interviewed on Tuesday, January 11th.

The first of two groups of applicants for the open city council seat in Park City were interviewed on Friday.

17 Parkites ultimately applied to serve out the remaining two years of Mayor Nann Worel’s city council term. The first half of those candidates sat down for public interviews with Worel and the city council Friday afternoon.

Worel and Councilors Max Doilney, Becca Gerber, Tana Toly, and Jeremy Rubell asked similar questions of every candidate. All nine applicants interviewed on Friday were asked what they would bring to the council that was different, and whether they would run for a full council term in two years if they were selected. All of them said they would at least consider it.

Former city council candidate Michael Franchek was asked what he learned from his 2021 campaign, and how that would help him become a better councilor. He said he had a revelation on the campaign trail last summer.

“To the first race, my takeaway was that, wow, there’s commonality here," said Franchek. "There’s commonality, we’re looking for quality of life, we’re looking for balance, we’re looking for sustainable progress, we’re looking for all of those things. I thought there might have been a greater disparity amongst what residents wanted, and I found that, a really radical discovery, that there’s unifying factors. A lot of us want the same thing.”

Franchek filed a federal lawsuit against Park City last September, and claims his Constitutional rights were violated during an incident with Park City Police in 2019. Franchek told the councilors he wouldn’t let disputes with the city get in the way of his other responsibilities.

“We had what could have been a very tenuous position, but honestly, when it comes down to it, I have the ability to separate business and personal differences," he said. "I don’t have any personal differences in Park City.”

Another applicant, Aidan Lehfeldt-Ehlinger, has worked at Main Street’s Cake Boutique for the last 15 years. She told the council and mayor that she’d be most passionate about tackling issues surrounding the city’s rapid growth, and giving a voice to the city’s working class on the council.

“There are mostly wonderful things with that, but there are some trickle-down problems, like with affordable housing," she said. "I think that that is probably the main thing I’m interested in, and just overall growth management and how are we getting people in and out of this town? There are a lot of growing pains at the moment. I’ve worked on Main Street the entire time I’ve lived here, so I hear what the visitors are saying, I know what the locals are saying, at least the working-class locals, and also customers. I just feel like I have been eyes and ears on the ground for a very long time, and I’d just like to bring my perspective and make sure that that group’s been represented in the city.”

Bill Ciraco is a former investment management professional and also applied for the seat. Although he did not run for a council seat last year, he said a cornerstone of his platform would have been the need for better communication between the city, Deer Valley, and Park City Mountain Resort.

“I think the city really needs to engage, on much greater frequency and a greater level, with the resorts," Ciraco said. "Whether it be through a regularly scheduled quarterly meeting, and, look, we can approach it as in, ‘PCMR, what can the city do for you to help you?’ Get their list of asks, and then say, ‘ok, well here’s our list.’ Start with a dialogue.”

With the exception of a short recess halfway through the afternoon, the council and mayor moved quickly through the interviews, giving each applicant roughly 20 minutes of time.

Worel, Doilney, Gerber, Toly, and Rubell will be interviewing the remaining eight applicants for the seat on Tuesday, and are expected to make a final appointment on Thursday, January 13th.